Marina Times

Fire strikes Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral

special report by Rev. Victor Sokolov

Fire struck San Francisco's historic Holy Trinity Cathedral on Sunday morning, April 19 (Russian Orthodox Easter). The fire destroyed the St. Innocent of Irkutsk Chapel on the lower level of the building, and also inflicted damage on the main Temple of the Holy Trinity.

Following the outstanding efforts of the San Francisco Fire Department and clean up crew, Paschal Vespers was sung. Services during Bright Week and the Easter season will be celebrated at their scheduled times. No one was injured in the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation by authorities.

Holy Trinity Cathedral is the seat of Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco and the Diocese of the West, Orthodox Church in America. The Reverend Victor Sokolov has been Pastor of the Cathedral since 1991.

Note to our readers: The following is not part of the report from Father Victor, however, this exerpt from a letter from his Bishop explains, in excellent detail, the losses suffered by the Cathedral. All donations will be gratefully accepted. Please send to Rev. Victor Sokolov, Holy Trinity Cathedral, 1520 Green Street at Van Ness Avenue, S.F. CA 94123.

"....efficient, considerate, and careful actions of the San Francisco Fire Department. A lot can be said about this fire, and it's still not been determined what started it. It started downstairs in what would be the diaconarium of the St. Innocent of lrkutsk Chapel, consumed the diaconarium and its contents as well as the entire altar area and the ceiling of the altar area of the Chapel and some of the ceiling into the nave of the chapel. There are windows there at approximately ground level and the flames shot up by the windows on the outside wall and almost reached to the roof at one point. The entire structure is wooden and is not constructed so as to hinder fire in any way; on the contrary, it is an "ideal" structure for fire. Although the damage is appalling and even devastating what is truly amazing is that the Cathedral itself did not just burn up entirely. I told Fr. Victor... that this will be remembered as the year when Holy Trinity Cathedral was saved by a miracle from a major fire. While many precious and holy objects and icons stored in the altar of the St. Innocent Chapel and in the diaconarium were destroyed, the great treasures of the Cathedral are intact and experienced at most a thorough smoking. Remember this is a parish where the "metrical" (registry) records alone are a historical gold mine. There are also such holy treasures, as the Holy Panagia of St. Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow, who was murdered by the flunkies of Ivan the Terrible..."

Marina Times, Volume IX, No. 11, May 1, 1998, pp. 1, 3